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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Cut/mow and rotovate to control grass Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Key messages

  • One controlled study in the UK found that mowing followed by rotovating increased the number of heathland plant species in one of two sites. The same study found that the presence of a minority of heathland and non-heathland species increased.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

1 

A controlled study in 1983–1989 in two former heathlands converted to grasslands in Dorset, UK (Smith et al. 1991) found that mowing followed by rotovating increased the number of heathland plant species in one of two cases, and increased the presence of heathland plant species in three of 16 comparisons, but increased the presence of non-heathland plant species for two of 22 comparisons. After six years and in one of two cases, areas that were mown and rotovated had a higher number of heathland plant species (6 species) than areas that were not mown and rotovated (5 species). Presence of heathland plant species was higher in areas that had been mown and rotovated than in areas that had not been mown and rotovated in two of 16 comparisons (cut: present in 10–56% of plots, uncut: present in 3–11% of plots). Presence of non-heathland plant species was higher in areas that had been mown and rotovated than in areas that had not been mown and rotovated in two of 22 comparisons (cut: present in 3–6% of plots, uncut: present in 2–4% of plots). In 1983 five 25 m2 plots were mown and rotovated and five plots were left unmown and unrotovated. In 1989 four 1 m2 quadrats divided into twenty-five 20 cm x 20 cm squares were placed in each plot and the presence of plant species in each square recorded.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Martin P.A., Rocha R., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2018) Shrubland and Heathland Conservation. Pages 447-494 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.